Student’s visa poses problem for district

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

A question from a board member spurred a discussion about what visa documentation is needed to enroll in the Warren County School District and whether the district has an obligation to check citizenship status.

Board member Mary Ann Paris told the school board’s Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee on Monday that she had a constituent approach her who “was supposed to get a foreign exchange student, coming on a B-1 visa. Because that person told us it was a B-1 visa it (their enrollment application) was denied. We aren’t allowed to look at visas. How could that be?”

She then posed some questions on the topic.

“Do we charge tuition to the organization that brought them or the parents that hosts? If a foreign exchange student is at a charter school, do we bill as Warren County for having that student there that we don’t know is actually there?”

“Do they fall under the homeless policy?” Board Vice-president Donna Zariczny asked.

Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Gary Weber said the district is “not allowed to ask for immigration status so we have to enroll them.”

Weber said the district has been in contact with Tidioute Community Charter School about the same student but “with a B visa, (that) leaves you with a student that is basically a tourist (who) can’t take credits we can account for. (It) leaves us in a bad situation. If not an F-1 or J visa, we should not enroll.”

Paris re-iterated her question about tuition.

“By law, any student coming in on an F-1 visa, tuition must be charged to that student,” Byham said.